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Thunderbolt Patterson

Real NameClaude Patterson

Birthdate - ?/?/41

6' 242 lbs. - Waterloo, IO

Aliases - Claude Patterson, Sweet Daddy Brown, KO Patterson

Athletic Background - n/a

Teacher(s)Jack Crawford

Professional BackgroundOmaha, AWA, Kansas City(`64), Amarillo(`65-`71), Los Angeles(`66), Detroit(`69), Dallas(`69), Florida(`70), Dallas(`71), Mid-Atlantic(`73), Florida(`76), Toronto(`76), GCCW(`77), Georgia(`77-`79), Tri-State(`78), Memphis(`79), ICW(`81-`82), Detroit(`82), UCW[Gulas](`83)

Aliases - Claude Patterson

Peak Years`68-`75

Place in HistoryThe value, role and legacy of blacks in pro-wrestling has long been a polarizing topic and Thunderbolt Patterson is the living embodiment of that harsh reality.  Some believe that pro-wrestling was essentially a business where anyone could get over and make money, therefore those who could not were simply lacking in some area essential to success.  Some believe that while there was opportunity, politics could easily undermine even the best talents.  And still others believe that pro-wrestling has long been a white man’s business that undercut, held down or blackballed minorities who could have been significant stars and draws.  Thunderbolt Patterson admittedly had his strengths - he was a big man who looked the part, he had a genuine charisma that came across in the ring and he was one of the best and most innovative talkers of all-time.  Patterson embraced the black vernacular unlike most of his brethren, developing a distinct delivery and catchphrases long before that was common.  Black wrestlers had long been special attractions and were often unwilling to challenge promoters and peers for fear of losing their spot.  Thunderbolt Patterson was willing.  Like Bearcat Wright, Patterson was a legitimate draw in numerous territories, but caused problems for promoters and he used racism as the justification for his frustrations.  Whether he was right or wrong is up for debate, but what is not is that these actions were met with reactions that prevented him from reaching the levels he claimed he was capable of reaching.  Always confident in his abilities, T-Bolt would challenge the pro-wrestling establishment again and again.  As a result, his career was a roller coaster ride.  He would be a key personality in a top promotion on year and headlining small outlaw shows the next.  Thunderbolt Patterson had an impression on his peers, whether positive or negative.  Dusty Rhodes, Blackjack Mulligan and others admittedly borrowed from his promo style.  Many others were turned off by his activism and saw him as a strong talker, but a very limited worker with a lot of baggage.